“We are in the middle of a restart. The new retail ERP implementation kick-off had began in early January. By mid-February, the RFID project begun”, says Michel Feurich. The store roll-out of a new ERP solution, starting in the summer of 2017, will combine SAP with a new RFID system from Tyco Retail Solutions. “By changing the system in this way, we are creating a base for the pursuit of more creative innovative solutions.”
Kick-off for new store ERP, roll-out starting in 2017
“The decision to implement a new retail ERP system was made two years ago. The current system is no longer keeping up with today's requirements and the increasing challenges of internationalisation. It cannot keep up in terms of scalability”, says Feurich. Gerry Weber is now changing its ERP system and employs SAP. The existing RFID concept, which started in 2009 as an individual solution on a greenfield site, will not be used anymore because it does not offer a way of integrating RFID into the ERP system. “We need to tackle the RFID issue once again. Fortunately, the time and the market are now ready to use a standard software”, says Feurich, explaining the change to the Tyco RFID solution.
Part of the project launched in 2009 is the use of RFID to optimise both logistics and retail processes as a new form of electronic article surveillance. During this development process, the idea for another innovation came up: the ‘normal’ care label has been extended to be a textile RFID label that provides article surveillance, the manufacturer's care instructions and the Electronic Product Code.
RFID solution realignment, no process changes
“We won’t change everything. The primary objective is to maintain the status quo. This means that we stay with the proven RFID processes, sticking to the sewn-in RFID tags”, says Feurich. The CIO emphasises that all RFID processes have been running stably since 2011. Everything has been working well: “Goods reception, cycle counting, finding products, replenishing inventories in the stores – we have successfully implemented RFID in all these processes and have also optimised them. In the future, however, we will take another technological direction”. For the new alignment, Gerry Weber, supported by the consulting company Tailorit, has compared different RFID vendors and has opted for the RFID-based inventory visibility solution from Tyco Retail Solutions. Tyco will also provide Gerry Weber with consulting services, while the project management will be done internally at Gerry Weber.
The next step is an RFID repository
“We will address the middleware issue quite differently in the future”, says the CIO. “For the first stage, working with Tyco we will set up a stringent RFID repository from which to operate all other systems. Data protection will carry great importance. With the new solution, we will continue to optimise the data protection standards that we introduced in 2011. We will separate the serial number and Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) and in a second stage those of our well-known customers. We will then be able to protect our customers even better than we do today. Part of the implementation will be to evaluate hardware and consider how we can design specific mobile store processes even better”, says Feurich.
New logistics centre: higher efficiency by logistics outsourcing
The logistics processes gain an efficiency boost: since December 2015, the new logistics centre, located at the business location Ravenna Park, is in its startup phase. In the future Gerry Weber will control its logistics independently from here. Up until now it has been handled by the logistics service provider Meyer & Meyer and Fiege. “In terms of RFID experience, we were able to rely on the resources we’d gained after many years of cooperation”, says Feurich. “The centre has been designed according to our ideas, and proven RFID processes allow us to achieve maximum efficiency.” In the next few weeks, first RFID-tagged shipments from the Far East will arrive. In future, the accessories of license partners will also leave the centre tagged. “Even this process will be improved by the new logistics centre.”
Additional 4 million Hallhuber articles will be integrated in the summer
An important step in the transformation process of the company was the acquisition of the fashion company Hallhuber. The additional portfolio for the target group ‘fashion for women from 25’ means on the one hand a new start, and on the other hand the need to tag an additional 3.5 to 4 million items annually. RFID is not currently used in Hallhuber stores. Gerry Weber has equipped all products with RFID tags to be able to integrate Hallhuber logistics in the summer of 2016, after all the Gerry Weber brands have been integrated with the new logistics centre, says Feurich.
Internationalisation: first step across the Atlantic – with a retail venue in Canada
The fashion company has an emphasis on internationalization: RFID technology is currently running efficiently in 20 countries. Only in Canada, where the first stores were opened in 2015, items are still equipped with classic hard tags. “We do not have any IT facilities there yet. Should we achieve the critical mass of stores in North America within the next few years, we will definitely employ RFID”, predicts Feurich.
The store of the future and Omnichannel are both on the agenda
Gerry Weber also lays the grounds for future store innovations with the new ERP system. “We see far more promising potential in RFID. Store-analyses of where customers walk or how much time they spend in the dressing rooms are on our agenda for the store of the future in the same way as intelligent fitting rooms, topics such as NFC or iBeacon customer apps. We are creative, open and naturally have the younger generation in mind.” Asked about Omnichannel, Feurich answers openly: “We are not yet where we want to be. In logistics, we are already merging channels, which means we have more flexibility from season to season. But in order to link the channels cleanly, we must take both the ERP system and E-commerce to a higher level.”